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How to Recruit Women and Millennial Truck Drivers

Written By: Sofie Bedard, Content Creator, on Jan 31, 2018

We’ve all heard it. A directive for companies in the transportation sector to expand and become more inclusive in order to best overcome the driver shortage that is rocking the industry today.

According to data from a new ATA report, the transportation industry is experiencing a stall related to a significant drop in driver retention. 

The Facts

  • According to the ATA, the industry needs “900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand”. 
  • The report identifies the aging fleet of drivers as a main reason for the diminishing pool. 
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average age of the commercial truck driver to be 55 years old. 
  • The ATA says only 6% of the workforce are women. 

In an ecosystem where many truckers are retiring and a low number of new drivers are entering the pool, the industry is being called to diversify to reach a new talent pool that reaches across gender, ethnic, and age demographics. The numbers validate this shift in direction, according to a study from McKinsey & Company:

“Companies in the top quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have above average financial returns, with those in the top quarter for gender diversity only 15% more likely”.

Here are some tips for transportation companies wishing to attract and diversify by recruiting truck drivers who are millennials and women:

1. Offer a Flexible Schedule and Work/Life Balance

Studies show that millennials want agency in determining their hours. The ability to feel like they can achieve a work-life balance is often identified as an important consideration for millennials when selecting a career. Many transportation companies have found feasible ways to implement flexible work hours. Keeping drivers local, designing a clear and codified policy on flexible hours, and promoting effective route scheduling can mitigate the risks and make flexible work hours a benefit for everyone. 

The data shows that this is an issue that cannot be ignored; it is cited time and time again as one of the major pain points prompting high turn around rates in the industry. According to TruckingHR

“75% of all surveyed drivers plan on leaving the industry within the next 5 years and cited lack of flexibility as one of the key factors”. While fleets with flexible work hours reported turnover rates “less than 22% on average”. They also report more employees in the 18-35 age range than the industry average. 

2. Help them Achieve a Sense of Purpose

According to Fortune, for six in 10 millennials, “a sense of purpose” was part of their calculation in accepting their current jobs. When millennials clearly understand the impact of their work, they can trace the line between their role and the organizations larger goals and progress. 

This is vital when considering that “80% of millennial employees say they can see how their work contributes to their agency's’ goals, [while] 86% say the work they do is important”. A clear mission is crucial in making your people feel that their work provides value. 

3. Embrace New Technologies 

There are no two ways about, this is an exciting time to be involved in this industry. Things are changing rapidly and shifts in technology are redefining what it means to be a truck driver every day. 

Millennials are more likely to embrace changes in the technology around them, and in fact, this is more likely to be a selling point to a generation that often misconstrues the trucking industry as slow to embrace technological innovation. 

4. Promote a Strong Company Culture

This is an important one and it doesn’t simply start and end by implementing social accounts designed to attract new drivers. 

Better yet, companies that use social media and other mediums to tell their story in a compelling way do a better job of cutting through the noise and reaching their recruiting target. Load Delivered reports that “75 percent of truckers say they check Facebook daily and 62 percent of millennials turn to social media to find jobs”. 

Consider how you can showcase your people and proudly represent their unique stories, hobbies, and personalities. Representing the stories of a more diverse subset of drivers will eventually attract a more diverse talent pool. Culture is about humanity and bringing a level of authenticity to the table can be a major differentiator when it comes to creating a sense of community and celebrating the individuals you employ. Your culture is your brand and people want to see the faces behind the work you are doing. 

5. Implement Success Programs for Women 

It is becoming increasingly common for carriers to implement programs to help women succeed within their company. Doing so will engage, incentivize, and maintain more gender diversity in your organization.

6. Respond to Safety Issues

Outline clear safety, discrimination, and harassment policies. Implement policies to ensure there is zero tolerance for any kind of harassment. If every transportation company took a stand on this issue, the industry would be a safer and more desirable space for women to work. 

7. Support, Sponsor, and Rally behind Women-Led Trucking Organizations 

Sponsoring organizations like Women in Trucking has multiple benefits. Ultimately, social responsibility makes business sense; as you support and foster gender diversity in the industry you directly impact your True Cost of Ownership, elevate your brand, and increase your ability to reach a more diverse talent pool. 

"The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize [the] obstacles [they] face..."

Sofie Bedard, Content Creator

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